To see his girlfriend (now wife) Heartline had made a tradition of visiting Singapore every New Year. They’d both asked me a few times was I interested in visiting but warned me not a lot really happens over there. With that in mind I didn’t really want to put myself through a 25 hour round trip but that was about to change.
“Would you be interested in Singapore, Australia, China & Hong Kong?”. “…yes!”
We flew to Singapore with budget airline Norwegian and it ended up being one of my better long distance flights, though that isn’t to say being trapped in the air for 12 hours unable to sleep or even get comfortable is my idea of a good time.
I had been warned by more than a few people that I was going to hate the climate of Singapore because I don’t do well with heat and they were right. Even though it was Singapore’s winter and infact it was being considered by locals as a very cold winter, temperatures were still low 30s with extremely high levels of humidity. Shorts and 2 showers a day were an absolute must for me. It’s fine when you’re inside or on public transport because everywhere has aircon but when you’re spending large amounts of time outdoors you really suffer.
We spent the first day exploring malls, changing currency and meeting the inlaws. It’s fair to say even that was a struggle when you’ve been awake for 30 hours and your body hasn’t even started to get used to this new heat.
Heartline was slumming it with the inlaws while I got to stay in a really nice Hilton hotel in the Indian quarter of Singapore. We picked this hotel because of it’s close proximity to an MRT station and the convenience of which line it linked to. The locals here were an entertaining bunch with my favourite moment being a man in tears blessing his car in the middle of the street.
It wouldn’t be the most intense sleep of this trip but I was KO’ed the second I laid down after this insanely long day.
Today we visited the World famous Singapore Zoo and needless to say if you enjoy zoos then you can’t do any better than this.
I rode the MRT on my own for the first time today and it can’t not be mentioned how good Singapore’s subway system is. Reliable, extremely clean and so cheap when compared to the rest of the World.
A quick journey on a bus after and we were at Singapore Zoo.
The zoo is split into 3 sections, the main zoo, the river safari and the night safari. Today we were going to explore the main zoo and the river safari.
The main zoo is what you’d expect but a lot better and featuring lots of animals I’d never seen before.
The river safari starts off the same as a normal zoo but then ends with a large water ride that takes you up close and personal with animals as well as featuring the standard water ride drop sections.
Day 3 was more tourist stuff ending with an amazing light and water show in Marina Bay that I can’t recommend enough.
Universal Studios Singapore
Heartline had decided from the very early stages of trip planning that we were going to visit Universal Studios on New Years Eve, this would end up being a brilliant idea but at first things looked risky.
Universal Studios is located on the resort island of Sentosa which you can access from the mainland via many different forms of transport.
If you’ve read my report on Universal Studios Japan you’ll remember that the park experience itself left me feeling a little underwhelmed. I was curious if the Singapore version would leave me equally dry or would it be able to live up to what I’ve told myself I expect from a Universal Studios park, let’s find out.
Heartline’s mother in law had decided to join us today and I was officially in charge of looking after her on the rides, this ended up adding an extra layer on top of today’s experience and we are now ride buddies for life.
Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase – A suspended dark ride themed to Sesame Street, the ride system was cool, the theming was cute but I’m in no position to give a more indepth review than that.
Battlestar Galactica – I’d been excited to ride these intertwined Vekoma monsters since Heartline first told me about them many years ago. Visually they are incredible, a complete mess of twisted steel with the occasional train tearing through.
Cylon – First up was the much more exciting of the 2, the inverted coaster, Cylon and it’s brilliant. Better than many B&M Inverts I’ve ridden, featuring crushing positives, intense inversions, several near misses and great pacing, it really was a lot better than I expecting it to be and I was expecting it to be very good to start with. What a fantastic first coaster to start the trip with.
Human – The sit down coaster of the 2 has clearly been built to cater for the family audience but even then it’s incredibly tame, if you’re anything like me you’ll ride this once and then spend the rest of the day team Cylon.
Treasure Hunters – Next we rode Treasure Hunters, a slow moving car ride that travels past egyptian theming and it was fine for what it is.
The major problem was the weather related shutdown that occured when we were 5 minutes from boarding. In Singapore at this time of year the weather can change from hot as hell, to insane thunderstorm and then back again in about 5 minutes. With almost all the other rides this is no issue but on Treasure Hunters they needed to sweep all the water off the surface the wheels run on and this took about 45 minutes…
Revenge of the Mummy – Singapore’s Revenge of the Mummy is absolutely incredible and epic in every sense possible.
The massive and beautiful entrance structure is breathtaking, the highly detailed queue is terrifying, the special effects are mindblowing, the onride theming is like nothing else, the soundtrack is wonderful and the animatronics are insane.
I think I’ve forgotten something…
Oh yeah, the coaster itself kicks ass too with an intense launch and a seriously good surprise airtime moment.
As a whole package, it’s almost impossible to beat.
It was about now I was doubting Heartline’s plan to come on New Years Eve because the park looked pretty busy and he told me he’s never queued 60 minutes for Revenge of the Mummy before.
Madagascar: A Crate Adventure – This Madagascar themed dark ride was so good that I felt quite tempted to watch the movie again, I still haven’t but I might.
We ate lunch at a restaurant in the plaza outside the park and decided to have the kimchi pizza, it was one of the most violent meals of my life.
Transformers – You’ll hopefully know I loved Spiderman at Universal Studios Japan but Transformers is even better still. This thing takes the fantastic ride system from Spiderman and then turns it up to 11 with more impressive theming, relentless special effects and much more intense movements, seriously you get thrown around like crazy on this awesome ride.
Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure – Singapore’s Jurassic Park is also so much better than the one found in Japan.
This time instead of using a flume style water ride they use a rapids ride and not just any rapids ride, no this thing is built by Hafema and that means only 1 thing, carnage.
Combine the beloved Jurassic Park experience from the other parks with probably the most intense rapids ride in the World and then for good measure add one of the most terrifying drops you’ll ever experience and you get this monster. It’s seriously fantastic.
Canopy Flyer – Right next to Jurassic Park is the suspended coaster Canopy Flyer. This cute little coaster takes you on an aerial tour of the beautifully themed Lost World area of the park, a great way to calm yourself down after Jurassic Park.
Next we went to watch the Waterworld show which I really did find myself enjoying.
Puss in Boots – I haven’t really got much to say about the park’s heavily themed suspended coaster other than it made me laugh.
Around about now Heartline’s idea of visiting on New Years Eve began to make sense as people were now leaving the park to go home or elsewhere to bring in the New Year.
Enchanted Airways – Which meant Enchanted Airways, a Vekoma Junior clone, was walk on. Normally I’d have just zoned this one out but thanks to my OAP ride buddy losing her mind I ended up having a great time.
Lights, Camera, Action! – After churros we experienced the park’s special effects showcase attraction Lights, Camera, Action! and it was amazing, much better than the already very impressive Backdraft from Japan.
It was now 8pm, we had ridden everything we wanted, the park was now deserted and we still had 4 hours left till close. More than enough time for many rerides on Revenge of the Mummy and Battlestar then!
At just past midnight the park had a small fireworks show to bring in the New Year, while I had an out of body experience while thinking to myself that the trip had only just begun.
Universal Studios Singapore is a fantastic park and definitely has the atmosphere I so desperately wanted to experience in Japan. That atmosphere when coupled with the park’s fantastic attractions makes for an amazing and very memorable day out. By the end of the day I was wrecked but extremely satisfied.
We had a nice late start to this day which was much needed after getting back from Universal Studios at 1am.
Today was more general exploring of Singapore and ended with a night visit to the Merlion.
Today was our last day (for now) in Singapore and featured yet more wandering around. Heartline and wife went on a date to the cinema leaving me exploring on my own at one point. It was during this solo exploration that it struck me just how crazy it was that I’m here, on the other side of the World, just walking about like that’s normal.
Thanks for reading this super long post, please click here to read what happened on our first day in Australia during our visit to Sea World.